Michael Conlan, fresh off a unanimous decision win against Miguel Marriaga in Belfast, says having his hand raised brought ‘massive relief.’
The fight, in which Conlan dropped his opponent three times last weekend, saw him pick up a much-needed victory after taking his first loss in March at the hands of WBA ‘Regular’ Featherweight Champion, Leigh Wood.
Despite the knockdowns, this latest scrap wasn’t all plain sailing. As they entered the 10th and final round, it was clear Marriaga knew he had to give everything for a chance at victory – and that he did.
Conlan ultimately managed to fire back, hold on, and survive the swarm of punches coming his way. Speaking to Steve Bunce on the 5 Live Boxing podcast, he praised the Colombian’s power.
“In my opinion, he can punch harder than Leigh Wood. He hit me with a jab in the first round I was like ‘my God, that guy can punch’.”
“Every time Marriaga hit me I was like, ‘I’ve got to be careful here’.”
It was a successful run out for the much-loved Irishman. Behind the packed arenas and the larger-than-life personality, there is a world-class boxer who won’t let one loss define him.
Conlan was one of his country’s most successful amateurs, made his professional debut at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, and boasts a record of 17 wins from 18 bouts. Now back to winning ways, he told Bunce what is next.
“I’ve got rid of a lot of demons, now I’ll take a bit of time, I’ll relax for a few weeks, re-focus, and then continue the trail towards a world title. I want to fight for a world title immediately, if possible. If not, within the next two fights.”
In terms of opponents, it’s of no surprise that he wants to run it back with Nottingham’s Wood.
In their first fight, Conlan was up on all scorecards before an almost unbelievable knockout punch sent him through the ropes and onto the floor.
Whilst Wood’s local fans celebrated, the mood around ringside became sombre – there were genuine fears for the Irish fighter’s health. It’s a moment in time that Conlan wants to rectify.
“Leigh Wood is definitely still my target. If that can’t be done, I’ll face any of the other champions. What a loss has done for me is that it’s made me hungrier. I want to fight all the champions.”